Related Reviews
Hi-Fi News
4½ Stars
'a new version of the Serenade with the young British tenor Allan Clayton is the real draw of this download...'
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American Record Guide
'This recording has the advantage of firstrate sound, a superb horn player who is at least the equal of Brain or Tuckwell with an even greater range of tonal nuance, and a singer who simply has a more pleasant sound than Pears.'
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Fanfare
'...the ensemble is particularly impressive in the hushed sections, playing with exquisite beauty and control...'
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Crescendo
4 Stars
'superbe'
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'...extraordinary performances, aided by top-notch soloists..few recordings satisfy as much as this one, with deliberate, but intense, readings...'
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Forum Opera
4 Stars
« Le piano de Lorenzo Soulès en offre une interprétation étincelante...Le raffinement de Britten est servi en maître dans ce jalon d'une musique. »
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'In the following Tennyson song, "Nocturne", aided by the Aldeburgh Strings' splendidly evocative playing, Clayton sounds suitably heroic at the final "Blow, bugle, blow"...Lorenzo Soules plays Young Apollo's glittering piano part with charismatic dash...'
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Voix des Arts
Recording of the Month: 'Clayton establishes himself as a triumphantly worthy successor to Pears...Clayton's voice is both more beautiful and more secure throughout the range than Pears's, but the forthrightness with which he limns the distress of lines like ‘O rose, thou art sick' recalls Pears's interpretive perspicuity.'
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Pizzicato
'..the soloists are one and all excellent, as are the exceptionally good Aldeburgh Strings.'
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The Guardian
4 Stars
'urgent, vibrant and punchy'
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The Sunday Times
'These performances by the Aldeburgh-inspired ensemble vividly affirm Britten's genius.'
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MusicWeb International
'One is struck by the beauty and security of their quiet playing - a virtue which comes to the fore also in the gorgeously lyrical Prelude. The accompanying Fugue, meanwhile, is a contrapuntal tour de force, and tossed off here with notable verve and aplomb.'
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Der neue Merker
'Britten's short but magnificent tone poem…bursts with radiant vitality, rises in iridescent tones before us...'
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Daily Mail
4 Stars
'The Aldeburgh Strings give an exceptional performance of Britten's the Serenade For Tenor, Horn And Strings.'
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Classic FM
'...the playing of the hornist Richard Watkins is also truly exceptional...a performance so worth treasuring.'
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Aldeburgh Strings - Britten: Serenade - Gramophone


01 May 2016
Gramophone
Richard Fairman

Founded in 2010, Aldeburgh Strings bring together advanced students for intensive periods of study. Their tutors are leading musicians from international orchestras, like Markus Däunert, a founder member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and director for this programme, which is derived from projects undertaken for the Britten centenary in 2013. The concentration achieved on the course is evident from the standard of playing here. 'There is no mobile phone signal at Snape,' says Däunert, 'so we can focus on the music.'

In Britten's buoyant Young Apollo Aldeburgh Strings field a greater weight and range of colour than Rattle's CBSO, making the work sound more expressive and substantial, and Lorenzo Soulès is a dexterous solo pianist. Angst permeates the string clusters of Lachrymae early on, too (how powerfully the bass notes resound in Snape Maltings' generous acoustic) and Máté Szucs, first principal viola of the Berlin Philharmonic, makes an insightful soloist. In this resonant hall the Prelude and Fugue sounds bigger in forces than it really is - almost symphonic in scale, like one of Barshai's arrangements for chamber orchestra of the Shostakovich string quartets. All are performances to be recommended.

The competition in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is more intense. As in his recent recording of the Nocturne, part of Aurora Orchestra's 'Insomnia' programme (Warner, 9/15), Allan Clayton is the epitome of the English tenor, agile in the Ben Jonson setting, floating with an ethereal sense of menace through the Scottish 'This ae nighte'. The poetry is sung with clarity and perception, the 'dark, secret love' in the Blake becoming an inner thought confided to the microphone. What I miss is the consistent depth of tone that would carry with weight and stature in the concert hall. Richard Watkins is commanding as the horn soloist and Aldeburgh Strings are again a vivid presence. At under an hour there was room for more. This disc, though, should build awareness of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme's work.


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Aldeburgh Strings and Aldeburgh WindsAldeburgh Strings and Aldeburgh Winds
Allan ClaytonAllan Clayton
Benjamin BrittenBenjamin Britten
Lorenzo SoulesLorenzo Soules
Markus DaunertMarkus Daunert
Mate SzucsMate Szucs
Richard WatkinsRichard Watkins
Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn and stringsBritten: Serenade for tenor, horn and strings
Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and StringsBritten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings